A Childhood Adventure

Theme: Dreams & Wishes

Accompanying video can be found here 

Yikes! I'm sat here groaning and thinking “why did I volunteer to go first again?”. The nerves and the subsequent creative block are hitting, and I feel like my blip of braveness is coming back to bite me!

So my response to the above self doubt, grab a brew and browse some Pinterest. I find it a great place to start before I embark on any creativeness. I'm not one of these people that can ooo and ahh at nature, look at a tree and suddenly bing! Creative and Inspired Self appears. Nah, I look at a tree and more often than not think “hmm nice tree” or simply “oh, a tree” and that's that. Don't get me wrong I'm inspired by nature's beauty and everything but it doesn't get my brain firing and I struggle to move beyond what I see in front of me.

Tools like pinterest allow me to begin with one idea, and arrive at another (although I must admit sometimes I just get lost in the world of pinning). A sort of organic development, if you will, of thought process. I'll then toddle off all inspired and brimming with colourful thought and create something completely different from what I had originally intended. It is a journey I take more and more as I never know where I'll end up. Ha – how cliché does that sound...but so utterly true! So I really do suggest it, if you're ever stuck or wish to stray from your usual path.

Sometimes, however, ideas do just pop into my head. Often when I'm trying to sleep. I become rather fixated and obsessed with how it will look down to the minute detail. This is pretty much what occurred with my first piece for this first blog entry (ack!!). I suffer quite badly from insomnia, and recently it has reared it's ugly head. I was thinking over what wishes and dreams mean to me....great big, wide awake, kind of thoughts. Perfect for sleeping kind of thoughts.

I kept thinking back to when I was a child and to when my parents took my brothers and I to the beach. I remember playing in rock pools, catching – or at least attempting to, giving up and pretending to – all the little sea creatures that lived there. I remember the magic of new discoveries and the wonderment at the strange little beasties with their many legs and bright colours. The feeling of complete freedom, the power of imagination – me with my little fishing rod standing strong and guarding the seas, protector of squishy sea creatures. Nothing was impossible.

I was also reminded of the times I was taken to a wishing stream, with a little wooden bridge. We'd throw coins and make a wish, or play pooh sticks – which more often than not descended into an argument. But hey, the picturesque and serene image still stands, minus three brawling children.

Too clinical

From there my mind's image of the journal piece I wanted to create took shape. I knew exactly how I wanted to capture it, planned meticulously down to the last brush stroke. The colours and textures all mapped together like a puzzle. It almost becomes clinical, far removed from creative freedom and organic development, to a cold, strategic tick box exercise. I stress over the discrepancies of what is in my minds eye and what I see on paper before me. I'm still learning to let go of this and enjoy the process of creating in it's own right.

At the minute I'm really into gesso. I'm using it as a base even when there is no need for it. For this piece I dolloped on a ol' big splodge of white gesso and began a sort of stippling across both pages. I wanted to get as much texture in my base layer as I could. I could have used other means but I quite like the chalkiness of gesso.

After that I sketched out the rough placement of the rocks for the rock pool and worked out where I wanted the fish net to sit. Then I got stuck in, with the painting, working with both softer and harder brushes, at least I did at first. Acrylics are my preferred medium to work with, it always has been I think. It just feels natural to work with. I did contemplate using watercolours as well. I think it would have given it a much lighter and floaty feel. This piece feels much heavier and earthier in comparison.

Time to get messy

By the time I'd finished working roughly on the rocks I gave up using paintbrushes and embraced finger painting. A throwback to childhood I often like to indulge in! I find blending and highlighting much easier with my hands. Warning – another cliché comment coming up, but I feel more connected and involved when I literally get stuck in and splodge and squish the paint about with my fingertips.

After a quick whoosh of the hair dryer – I never could get on with a heat gun, too many burnt pages! - I decided to add some green, and gold tones and threw out the rule book on not using black for fear of making colours muddy. It's my painting and if I decide to use black I shall. By this point the rock pool was looking less like a rock pool and looking more like hills and cliffs near the sea. Mentally I'm struggling as it is not looking like how I planned, but I rolled with it.

After this....errr *watches video* ahh yes I moved onto adding the blues and greens for the sea water. Sometimes I'll blob paint directly onto the page and whilst other times I'll add it bit by bit via a palette. With the former I find there's less ease to blend and manipulate the paint and there is a certain amount of intrigue as to how the paint will move.

This is where I'm rather pleased I added so much gesso as a base, the rough texture is really pulling through underneath the blues and greens I've put on top. I left some of the blue a little sparse in places as to mimic the light falling on the surface.

Out came the white paint, and I got a little trigger happy. Dabbing around the base of the rocks, I felt it looked more like waves crashing rather than light foam in a rock pool, so I added more and it's now a half way. Some parts remind me of rock pooling, others of views from the cliff's edge.

Lastly, I wanted to bring back that childhood memory of power and adventure. I created the fishing net, using some of the vellum from Kelly's Mermaid Kit and hand stitched it together onto some brown card cut into a hoop like shape. I've sewn it so there is a small pocket, of sorts, where I can add messages or things which relate to my dreams.

Part of me feels it looks a little out of place – especially since J proceeded to ask if it was and I quote “one of those fly swatter things”, maybe it is my proportions? The other half of me loves that is stands proud and defiant. Reminding me, that I should always capture my wishes and chase my dreams.

That's all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed my ramble and my journey through this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts and or your creative take :)

In a bit guys x


  1. I love your post! I'm so glad you're like me - pinning for ideas, getting lost then creating songs unique. I don't think your net is too big, rather, it's a reminder to catch things before they're gone. I'm still getting into finger painting,I don't like the feel of the paint!!! (I'm such a girl lol!) anyway, love your post, and your page!

    1. Aww thank you I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!! I could spend hours on Pinterest lol moving from one thing to another...it's like a bottomless pit of pretty and shiny things!! Ahh I think it is definitely a marmite type of thing, finger painting lol


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